Imagine this: You have a job that involves traveling the world, immersing yourself in the role of pampered hotel guest, and documenting it on social media. That pretty much sums up Fiona Boyce's job—except that it also involves a ton of hard work, scrupulous attention to detail and some serious number nerdery. Here, we talk to Fiona about everything from making contacts and interpreting analytics to building a cohesive brand and how to avoid the sunset rabbit hole in the process.
You're the Director of Social Media + Brand Content for Commune Hotels + Resorts. What does that job entail?
Commune Hotels + Resorts is comprised of three brands, Thompson Hotels, JDV Hotels, and our newest brand: tommie. My day-to-day includes overseeing the social media profiles for our hotels (35 hotels and counting), our incredible internal social media community management team, working on the content of our brand blogs (Upper Stories/Thompson Hotels, Joyride/JDV Hotels, and our Chicago Athletic Association blog), and discovering and executing social media and digital brand partnerships.
What attracted you to working in the hospitality industry?
I started my career working at a social media agency where I worked on a variety of accounts, but was drawn to the luxury lifestyle brands. I love to travel, and it made sense when we signed on hotel/hospitality clients I would work on those accounts. What I loved about working with boutique lifestyle brands is that it wasn't just about the physical hotel product. Art, music, design, and food were all equally important brand pillars and critical to the guest experience. "Lifestyle" hotels combine my love of travel infused with other elements to make for a really diverse content mix.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
The best advice I could give if you're looking to go into social media is to begin your career at an agency where you'll be exposed to a variety of brands and industries. You can figure out which one speaks to you, and go from there, but it helps to give you a baseline understanding. Also, never underestimate the value of an informational interview. You can make contacts that might be beneficial to you down the road. Don't be shy about reaching out!
A lot of people assume that social media is ‘just updating Instagram.’ Can you give us some insight into what actually goes into handling social media for a big company, and how it is different than just updating your own accounts?
Although Instagram is my favorite social channel, there is much more that goes into our social media strategy than just beautiful, aspirational photos. A large role of our social media is to assist with larger sales and marketing goals, which we support through our content creation. We also are always looking at the analytics of our postings, and determining how to increase referral website traffic and revenue through our postings. I spend quite a bit of time in Google Analytics and on our social software getting really nerdy about numbers, but you have to have them to show value of the program to key stakeholders that like to see hard data.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Making sure that we don't fall down the rabbit hole of sunset and dog pictures, although it's what our followers like to see! They perform better than any other types of content, however we have to make sure that we remain true to other brand pillars as well!
What is the best part of your job?
Traveling to amazing places around the world and getting to experience our hotels through a traveler's perspective. When we open a hotel in a new location, I fully immerse myself in what the traveler experience will be, where they'll go, what they'll see, eat, and do. It's fun, I feel like a mini-expert on places I haven't even visited!
What has been one of the most exciting things you have worked on at Commune?
Right now I'm working on the launch of our newest brand, tommie, which will open next year in NYC. Working on launching a brand is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm so honored to be part of it!
What advice do you have for people about getting creative in their corporate jobs?
There's room for creativity everywhere, don't be afraid to speak up and pitch your idea! Also, I can't stress enough the importance of finding time to pursue some type of creative outlet beyond your job. Even if you have a job that involves creativity, it's good to work on your own thing on the side—it might even make you think differently in your day-to-day!
What are the key aspects that make a brand’s social media presence engaging and cohesive?
Being authentic, timely, and human.
What are some common mistakes that brands make?
Jumping on trends that aren't right for their brand just because it is popular on the internet. Your customers are smart and can see through it! Stay true to who you are as a brand—it will keep you relevant in the long run.
What are your favorite travel Instagrams to follow?
@escapebklyn is my favorite source for weekend destinations, @fathomwaytogo is my go-to news source for all things travel, @alexstrohl has the most incredible nature images that make me want to be deep in the woods, and @afarmedia which is my favorite new travel magazine with stunning images from around the globe
Want to learn more about getting creative in your current job? Check out our Pushing Boundaries Not Buttons panel at #CreateCultivateDallas!